Jefferson County, Colo. — August is National Breastfeeding Month, and the first week of August (1-7) is World Breastfeeding Week. These celebrations are held annually to increase breastfeeding awareness to improve the health of mothers, babies and families. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) reminds our community that breastfeeding is a team effort, and it’s important for breastfeeding individuals to have a support system in place. This year’s theme for National Breastfeeding Month is “Every Step of the Way,” and is meant to help encourage support for families at every point in their infant-feeding journey. This also coincides with the World Breastfeeding Week theme, which is “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility,” and emphasizes how successful nursing takes a village.
Breastfeeding requires information and many circles of support to create an environment that empowers families to breastfeed. When there is close support from partners, families, friends, employers, child care providers, healthcare providers and communities, breastfeeding rates and outcomes improve. An individual’s nursing success involves finding encouragement from all different areas in their community. It is important to help breastfeeding individuals find support systems specific to their situation.
“We know that breastfeeding is good for everyone in the family, and can help promote closeness and bonding between the breastfeeding person and baby,” said Kelsey Rivera, WIC Lactation Program Supervisor at JCPH. “We know that nursing isn’t always possible for everyone, but we encourage folks to support those who are able to and choose to breastfeed or chestfeed, because we know that the more support there is, the more successful nursing is.”
Breastfeeding not only directly impacts the health of the breastfeeding person and infant, but also has an impact on the health of the entire community and the world. Breastfeeding is a low-cost way of feeding babies, helping to reduce poverty and prevent hunger, undernutrition and obesity.
At JCPH, we have several programs that work to support breastfeeding, such as:
In addition to public-health led support, breastfeeding support can be found in key areas throughout Colorado communities, including hospitals, healthcare providers, the Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition and local breastfeeding coalitions, La Leche League (LLL), employers and schools, child care providers, family, friends and partners.
JCPH encourages everyone in Jeffco to get involved in promoting and supporting breastfeeding in our community. One easy way to get involved is to join the Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition at the Breastival, a free day of family fun. The coalition hosts the Breastival each year to celebrate breastfeeding and connect families to local goods and services. This year's event features an in-person and virtual Global BIG Latch On event, plus over 30 vendors, food trucks, free face painting, balloon animals, activities (music class, yoga, etc.) and more. For more information and to register for prizes, visit COBreastival.com.
“This August, we’re so excited to encourage our community to celebrate breastfeeding, just like we are proud to do at JCPH every day,” Rivera said. “We want everyone in Jeffco to know there are resources available for them in their infant-feeding journey.”
To help show our support, we will be sharing a number of stories from our staff and their experiences on our social media channels. We invite you to share your experiences with us, along with any questions you may have. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit us online at www.jeffco.us/public-health.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.